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“Czech Republic First” – More than 100 000 people protest in Prague over soaring energy prices, government policy toward Russia, Czech Republic

prague protest september 3 2022

Tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital Prague, Czech Republic on September 3, 2022, demanding the government to end sanctions against Russia and establish a new gas supply deal. Locals say the protests were joined by more than 100 000 people, from the far-right and left, all of them from the capital.

  • At the end of August 2022, electricity costs in the Czech Republic became the highest in Europe.
  • Protesters threaten strike and coercive action if the government doesn’t resign by September 25.
  • They say this is the future for all governments that act against the interests of their people.

The protesters gathered under the banner of “Czech Republic First” – demanding that the country’s coalition take more steps to rein in surging energy costs.

They called for the end of sanctions against Russia and the establishment of a new gas supply deal, the resignation of the country’s prime minister and to immediately stop supplying Ukraine with arms.

Opposition to the EU and NATO was also voiced, with protestors saying that the Czech Republic should be militarily neutral.

The protest took place just one day after the country’s coalition government survived a no-confidence vote.

The average cost of electricity in Prague in July 2022 was 52.15 euro cents per kilowatt-hour at the Czech Republic’s purchasing power parity, good enough to edge London, United Kingdom (51.85 euro cents) for the most expensive electricity in Europe.1

To compare the prices in the Czech Republic to some of its V4 neighbors, the cost of electricity in the country is more than 60% higher than Poland (31.83 euro cents per kilowatt-hour) over double that of Slovakia (23.51) and more than triple prices in Hungary (16.20).

After demonstrations in Prague, the same voices were raised in Köln (Cologne), the fourth largest city in Germany. The protesters are demanding the lifting of sanctions against Russia and neutrality in the Ukraine war.

On August 31, Russian Gazprom completely halted the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1 – the biggest pipeline for gas from Russia to Europe, and on September 2 extended the shutdown indefinitely, just hours after the leaders of G7 countries agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil.

It’s still warm and sunny in Europe.

References:

1 The Czech Republic now has Europe’s most expensive electricity – Expats.cz – August 28, 2022

Featured image credit: Dennis Hendrickson (stillshot)

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